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From Sushi to Soufflé: Why Culinary Hotshot Chose EMLYON

Globetrotter argues a French MBA is the right option for aspiring international entrepreneurs


Fri Feb 25 2011

Kensuke Kitamura brings unusual flavours to his MBA cohort. For a start, he was brought up in Japan and graduated from Hawaii Pacific University in 2006, earning his management spurs in Los Angeles before coming to EMLYON for an MBA.

But it's not just the international angle to his experience that makes him stick out. Kensuke is also a highly successful restaurant manager, who at 27 has already established two thriving businesses in the fiercely competitive US market.

The opportunities sprung out of working as a waiter for extra cash during his undergraduate years. Towards the end of Kensuke’s degree his boss offered him a permanent position and a cocktail of responsibilities if he stayed on after graduating.

"I simply took the job and worked as wedding agent handling transportation, minister, singer, organist and so forth," says Kensuke. "I also established and developed a fast-food restaurant and managed the operation for two years."

"In 2009, I moved to California since my parents wanted start their own restaurant there... I was already experienced and had the know-how, so I decided to quit my job, move to their place and run the restaurant together."

"After two years, the sales grew more than enough and The Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Magazine wrote articles about us."

Kensuke now hopes adding an MBA to all this will open career tracks in marketing and entrepreneurship, as well as help him think outside the box.

But why go all the way to France for that? Why not apply to all of the top schools already on his doorstep in California?

He explains that he left Japan in the first place was because he “always wanted to be [an] internationalized business man." Staying in any one place for too long would defeat the point of leaving home. After six years, he’d seen enough of the US and "wanted to experience something new."

“Moreover, France is one of the representative countries in Europe both in economics and in culture, so I thought school in France would provide me valuable experience during the program.”

He also cites the 31 students from 14 countries in his batch at EMLYON as a major incentive.

"I definitely want to stay in Europe for at least 3 years to maximize my international experience... But I probably want to have my own company in 10 years. 10 years of professional experience should do."

“I found EMLYON had a great entrepreneurship oriented MBA program that would be very useful for my entrepreneurial future.”

Student Reviews

emlyon business school




On Campus

Intense courses, helpful professors

I am an international student in my 3rd year and I love going to this school and do not regret chosing it for my BBA. The classes are helpful, professors are always there to help as well and we have a very understanding administration.




On Campus

Leadership in an amazing city

I decided to do my exchange in Emlyon because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and I found a space with very capable People.. participatory, empathetic and full of leadership. I will never forget Lyon, apart from giving me an unforgettable experience, he gave me great friends




On Campus

A lot of opportunities professionally and socially. A unique program in France.

You can choose your courses and do your internship, exchange whenever you want. It's flexible and adapted to the needs of each student. A great program and a great city! Professionally, it opens a lot of doors for you to find internships or jobs in France or abroad thanks to the network and career events.




MSc in Digital Marketing

Combining both worlds into one, this course gave me all the on-demand technical skills in data science while maintaining a business-oriented approach. Thanks to the strong academic profile of this university I was able to secure an internship and full-time job at Amazon.




Top Business School fostering innovative entrepreneurs

EMLyon is one of the best business schools. The campuses, associations and courses offered provide the students with the best options to build the future they have chosen. The various opportunities to study and work abroad also offer a deeper understanding of the world, not only economy-wise but social, which helps the student become as well a better individual and not only a pre-formated business school student.




Emlyon campus in Paris

It has a great international community and you have access to many international tools, courses and professors. I had many networking events and workshops for students. Campus and some details of the program could have been improved or need to be bigger in order to have a better student life.




On Campus


Overall good content and good activities. Lack of administration but still ok. Good flexibility and liberty offered to the students. Finally, the amount of internship is also a good way to improve qualifications.




Good Reputation and International Business School

The course was not well adapted but it was up to the mark. The professors are very well experienced and their experience comes in handy while working on assignments. The facilities on the campus are top class. Truly professional. I really like spending time in the learning hub and using all the available resources. Lyon is an amazing city. You will never get bored.